Check the source. “Provenance is crucial,” whether buying an individual wine or a case. The older a wine, the more important it is to educate yourself on “where and how it’s been kept.”
Get answers. Don’t be afraid to deal with wine specialists who plainly know more than you do. “Answering questions is their job,” so find out all you need to before making your purchase.
Stick with the original. “It’s hard to fake a chateau’s imprint,” so buy wine in its original wooden case; it should be “indicated by ‘OWC’” in
an auction catalogue.
Do a taste test. Examine a wine like you would a “piece of art.” When buying a case, ask to sample a bottle, and make sure its “color, aroma, taste, or physical condition” fulfills your expectations. If you discover the wine is spoiled after making the purchase, you won’t be given your money back. But “all reputable auctioneers will attempt to work out a fair settlement.”
Source: Art + Auction